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Volkswagen Passat Maintenance and Repair



  • Good idea. I have my junk pile up for sale also. I remember the days when Bosch electrical and German engineering were the very best. Now neither is acceptable. Mercedes Benz has had its share of major problems also in past few years. There will be no more VW's or MB's in my driveway. Now that GM is now longer involved in Saab I was thinking about one however I need to wait until I know what will happen with that company.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    I got a chuckle out of your post concerning Bosch electricals. Having owned VWs manufactured in three different decades, I never, NEVER, had that thought cross my mind. The exact opposite was often true where I thought, "Ya know, this car would be great if it weren't for the dang electrical problems!" True in the 1970's, 1980's and 2000's, at least from my perspective.

    I tolerate it because my Passat wagon was the only car available at its price point with the combination of safety, fuel efficiency, space, and style when I bought it in 2002. As I look at the marketplace now, I see the Jetta wagon being the only real consideration for me.
  • vwenthuvwenthu Posts: 8
    According to the user manual, the 08 model need service every 10K miles. I take my car for service to the dealer and my dealer suggests service every 5K miles and sets the trip computer to 5K service interval. Is everyone else (2006-current VW owners) doing service at every 5K miles?It sucks because the carefree maintenance is not available on the 08 models and its not fun servicing every 5K miles....please advise.
  • frank_cfrank_c Posts: 19
    Apologies if discussed before (probably...).

    I have a '05 GLX 4motion with the V6 2.8l engine. Low mileage car, I just hit 25,000 miles.

    Recent oil change: I opted for synthetic, 5W40 (euro) at Jiffy Lube. I know this is not VW spec - but is this going to be an issue? Location is California so low temperature is not an issue.

  • I have you beaten. My first VW was a '57. Then Several others including a Fastback and Rabbit. Now we have a '98 Golf which has given it's share of electrical problems and the Pissat which buying was a monumental blunder for me. 9 total but these 2 are electrical problems on wheels. When they are gone that will be the last.
    Price point may be a consideration for buying but when the repairs start the price point quickly becomes moot.
    Good luck to you with your beast.
  • longo2longo2 Posts: 347
    I too have had my share of VW's starting with a new 1959 Beetle ending with a 1971 Superbeetle, a yellow car that we called "Herman the German". It was the best of the bunch and is probably still running.

    I am amazed at the variety of electrical and mechanical issues on this Passat Forum! (my first visit)

    I have been looking at the 06' Jetta TDI's and thought perhaps the Passat would be just as good or better, but found they stopped making the TDI Passat in 2005.
    I have also found a much reported weakness in the 2 ltr Passat engines.

    The engine counterbalance shaft run by a little chain off the oil pump that is prone to break. For several thousand dollars it can be converted to a gear drive for better reliability, if you happen to know a VW engine Guru who will do it.

    After reading through the last 10 pages of horror stories on this Forum, I am running not walking from anything to do with a Passat.
  • This is Navy Guy again with my 2003 Passat. The Korean service center actually did me right by only charging me about $320 to solve my water intrusion problem. They installed a more rigid tubing for the sunroof drain and the front windshied drain. Plus, they replaced the rear brake pads ($75 for parts) and engine sensor ($40 for part). Considering that the parts were $115, the labor for everything was only $205.

    Now, I've noticed a different problem. When I slow down from about 25 mph to about 5 mph (typically to go over a speed bump), the transmission shifts very rough when I speed back up. This happens once in about 10 times and typically during hot weather. Do I have a transmission problem? I don't know when transmission fluid was changed out last.

    Additionally, all the discussions about timing belt replacement is getting me worried. I have 42,000 miles on the car, but it's been pretty much all city stop and go traffic in Seoul, Korea. Should I change the timing belt in order to put my mind at peace?

    Thanks in advance.

    Navy Guy
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Navy Guy -

    Maybe I'm bringing you bad news, but the transmission control module is also located under the carpet, in the front footwell (I think on the left side, but don't quote me on that). Your transmission shift problem might be related to your water intrustion problem.
  • Dear Altair4,
    I've replaced the transmission control module. I had it ordered from for $1100 and provide it to the Korean VW service center. The $205 labor cost also includes that module replacement.

    I don't know if the new module takes some time to get used to. . . or build my driving habit history or something?

    What do you think about the timing belt replacement?

    Navy Guy
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 845
    VW did not post time requirement for its change, unluckily.
    I know one car (I think 2000) that had 80K miles (so theoretically below 105K limit) and its belt broke.

    I think that you should consider a change next year but could you ask service center to inspect it?

  • Krzys,
    Thank you for your thoughts. I'll ask them to inspect the timing belt next time I take the car in.
    Is there any way I can check the transmission fluid level? I was told that the transmission fluid was suppose to last the lifetime of the car, but in light of slight quirks with the transmission shifting roughtly I don't know if I should get the transmission fluid changed out.

    Navy Guy
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Krzyss's advice is good, I think. I'm in the same spot as you are - 2003 lower mileage vehicle. I think I'm going to look for a deal on the timing belt, water pump, drive belts, and tensioners this fall. I'm at 63,000 miles.

    I've had the belt looked at during inspections, but I still don't trust the dang thing. It's so expensive if you crash the valves with the pistions!

    I've got nothing better to add about your rough shifting. Did it start right after you had the TCM changed? Or was it later? Maybe corrosion on the connections? The level can only be checked from under the car - no dipstick (deleting a dipstick is the stupidest thing I've seen on this car). Do you have any indication of a transmission leak?
  • Altair4,
    I don't have any indication of a transmission leak and I think this occurred sporadically prior to the TCM change. I've noticed that the rough shift occurs when the transmission shifts from 2nd to 1st while traveling less than 5 mph. Normally, the car stays in 2nd gear even at slow speed and the subsequent acceleration is very smooth because no gear shift occurs until upshift to 3rd gear. When the car has to go uphill or go over a speed bump, the speed slow down sufficient level that the transmission has to shift down to 1st gear. Additionally, when I come to sudden stop (like when you see a ball bounce in front of the car), I've noticed that the transmission down shift to 1st gear with an audible sound.

    Navy Guy
  • vwdawgvwdawg Posts: 162
    mindymoore1: I'm not aware that anyone has responded to your inquiry, but I have some thoughts for you. Unfortunately, no good news here. You did not indicate how many miles you have on your '01, but I believe the factory spec indicates that the timing belt should be changed by 90,000. If you delve more deeply into the Passat forums, you'll see occasional owner reports that a belt broke at 80,000 or even 70,000 miles. Many owners change their belts well in advance of the 90,000 spec, especially considering the obscene consequences of a broken belt.

    With regard to the "shop", here's some thoughts: 1) The "valve": What you are referring to is the "valveS" (two to five per cylinder). Your valves were probably just fine, and they're not normally checked before a belt is replaced. Unfortunately, when the belt "slipped" (more likely, broke), the valves likely hit the tops of the pistons and are bent or broken. 2) It IS a bad idea to drive a vehicle with a bad TB, but it would not be irresponsible for the technician to start the car in order to drive it into the shop. I am wondering if the extended time that the car was parked resulted in all of the oil draining out of the engine; with reduced lubrication, perhaps that additional bit of friction caused the TB to break. Of course, it could also just be that one-in-a-million coincidence that the belt would break at the exact time that the car was being driven into the shop. 3) I don't see that the shop would have any negligence in this matter...I don't see that they did anything that would cause the damages. My guess is that the belt change was either overdue, OR if not, this was one of those freaky, premature failures. While Audis and VWs are very attractive cars and fun to drive, they are prone to various catastrophes if maintenance items are left unchecked. Not sure you have done the repairs to your car. If yes, and you have the 1.8T engine, be sure to pay attention to the forums on OIL SLUDGING, i.e., use approved SYNTHETIC oil (Mobil1 5W-40, etc.), or you might be in for MORE disturbing events. Good luck! vwdawg
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    I just checked the maintenance schedule on VW's website for the 2001 1.8T engine and the only maintenance for the Timing elt is a check at 40,000 and 80,000 miles, but for the timing belt tensioner, they have listed replacement at 40,000 and 80,000 miles. It's the same for the 2.8 V6. There is no actual listed change interval for the belt on their schedule, which goes out to 100,000 miles. But it seems that if the tensioner is being done, you'd have the belt changed then, too. We don't know if any of this stuff was done.

    I know the listed change for the 1.8T for the 2003 MY, the change interval is 105,000 miles. But there's no way I'm going anywhere near that distance. Bummer with the belt breaking when they pulled it in.
  • I have an 03 VW wagon GLX with about 66,000 miles on it. Right now the side marker lights are not working and my radio keeps losing the memory stations. The message center threw a "stop immediately" message but nothing was wrong a few weeks ago. Within the last 12-24 months I did find water in the glove box, but no- where else.
    The car was in the shop all day (non VW dealer) and they say it is an electrical problem but they cannot find it. The car won't pass inspection as it stands now. Any ideas?
  • Carol,
    I have a 2003 Passat GLS (42,000 miles) with water intrusion problem.
    The guys on this site told me that the front windshield water drain tends to clog and force the excess water to seep into the passenger compartment. During a torrential downpour, I've had water come inside the car and the genius German design has a electronic control module on the floor board of the front passenger side. I don't know if you have a similar problem, but I think you have a moisture caused short somewhere. I've had "stop immediately" accompanied by TRS/ABS/ and other warning lights come on. If you're going to keep the car, I recommend you take it to a dealer, because that what I've did. After about $1500 of repair, my car is completely rehabilitated. I'm just hoping that there will be no additional issues in the future.
  • I have attempted it 3 times and I still can't figure it out. Have you figured it out yet? I would love any help if you have any info.
  • Does your car have the separate signal light fixture? IF so, you will likely have to remove that first. I had the same problem and once I removed the signal light the head light came out easily enough. There are a number of disconnects to make, though so you will want to take your time. These cars are pigs to work on.
  • I'm considering a purchase of a 1999 Passat V6 GLS.
    The car is in superb condition with 138,500 miles on it.
    This will be a first car for a 17 year old daughter.
    Owner is asking $3,500. Am I ok with the amount of miles?
    What kind of milage can I expect with a VW?

  • Before making that purchase I'd check for the following items:
    When was timing belt changed?
    Were any seals replaced and when?
    Were oil changes made as scheduled and was synthetic oil used?
    Check for water damage ( see other posts).
    Check tie rods and boots. There are a half-dozen each side.
    I would hate to rain on her parade but you are buying trouble. All mechanics I know will NOT recommend this car because of high maintenance costs. Mine is a 2000 and I've spend $3,000 in repairs this year. It's for sale and I'm driving my motorhome because I can't trust this lemon to be trouble free until it's sold.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,349
    I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole myself. Miles are too high, car is too expensive for a 17 year old to maintain, and the Passat of that era does not enjoy a very good reputation.

    If you like Passats, (and there's lots to like) you're going to have to invest in a much newer one with a lot fewer miles for any reasonable chance of a happy ending.

    My opinion (that is, my two cents) is an unqualified NO on this particular year/miles/engine.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 845
    You call 9 year old car a lemon? It is quite old if you ask me.

  • OK so I've read that this is a common problem: The top of the dipstick tube (orange plastic piece) apparently broke when I had the oil changed today. It was not that way when I took it in. I found what I believe is the top-most piece laying in the engine compartment (stuck on hoses under the oild filter) but there is no sign of the rest of the plastic pieces leading me to be concerend some may have fallen into the tube. I have read very different comments about the ultimate meaning of this (if the plastic did actually go into the engine). One poster suggests its no big deal as the pieces will get stuck in the pump screen and not block the flow of oil whereas several posts suggest this is a major concern and the pan should be dropped ASAP. I plan to go back to the shop tomorrow but in the mean time - WHATS THE REAL-DEAL HERE??? Should I be concerned or?? :confuse: :confuse: :confuse:
  • Okay; I'll change the word from lemon to junk. A quality car should never give these problems I and others have had. I've had Nissans, Toyotas, and Honda well beyond 10 years with no problems. Sold a Honda last year that was 19 years old. Body rust but no other issues and over 300,000km. Sold Nissan truck with 240.000 and still had original exhaust and rear brakes. Not one issue in 10 years. I usually have 3-4 vehicles at same time, buy them new or nearly new and keep them a long time. While they are reliable I keep them Once I lose faith they go. Wife likes driving Passat but I have to maintain it. It's history and I'm going back to Saab or Nissan asap.
  • I have a 2008 Passat Wagen, 2.0 T, and am thinking of doing my own oil changes again. Everything online says the oil filter is underneath, but I've got this item that sure looks like an oil filter right on top in front of the oil dipstick. And it doesn't look like a canister type either, but the regular type. There are pictures in the owner's manual showing where things are, and this thing is not in those pictures. Did the filter get moved after my manual was printed? Or is this some other kind of filter? I don't want to take things apart until I know what I'm taking apart! PS I called a dealer and was told they moved the filter but I'm not sure I believe him ...
  • You may be able to get a set of full schematics for the Passat at ETKA which is the official site for VW. sorry I can't give you a direct link. But I'll try to find one this evening and send it if I find it.
    I can't imagine any manufacturer placing an oil filter anyywhere but where the oil will drain into a receiver. But, hey, it's the latest in German engineering. It could be anywhere.
  • try to Google ETKA PASSAT and it might get you to the site for the car. Another poster was kind enough to give me this information in February 2009 and I saved the full set on my computer. I keep a set in my car for when something breaks and I can call around for parts. I have used it a few times.
  • Just got a 2005 Passat Turbo. 62,000 miles. I'm looking into getting repair insurance; Easy Care, A-ARP, Warranty Direct, Mogi, etc..... What kind of issues can i expect in the next few years? Should I get a more extensive program or just a basic one? Currently the car runs great. I just don't want to be putting money into a black hole with repairs. thanks
  • vwdawgvwdawg Posts: 162
    Hi brillig: I am inclined to agree with camperman...I would be surprised if the item near the dipstick would be the filter, but I suppose anything's possible with VW. I'm not a big fan of dealerships either, so I would try to locate a good independent VW/Audi specialty shop near you. Stop by with your car and just ask them what that object is. If they're helpful, it would be a good indication that they might be a good shop to work with in the future. Another solution would be to jack up your Passat (use jackstands, of course), and unscrew and remove the splashguard from underneath the engine. Inspect, and you might find the ACTUAL oil filter there. Since you are planning to do your own changes anyway, have the replacement filter and new oil at hand, and complete the change. I would assume you're aware of this, but under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you use ANYTHING BUT VW-APPROVED SYNTHETIC OIL, e.g., Mobil 1 5W-40, and KEEP ALL OF YOUR RECEIPTS in case you end up with any sludging problems. Let us know where you find the actual filter, and good luck. vwdawg
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